If you’re not one of the few masochist travelers who actually enjoys packing (like this author), smartphone technology is here to help. These three mobile packing apps aim to make the process as quick, painless, and mindless as possible.
For the Ultimate Lazy Traveler: PackPoint
For travelers who are thoroughly packing averse, it doesn’t get much simpler than PackPoint. It’s clear that a great deal of thought went into the user interface. The streamlined design offers a simple, wizard-like process to handhold users through every step of packing. Just launch the app and enter a few basic details — including the date of your trip, where you’re heading, any activities you plan on doing while there (e.g. hiking, swimming, beach-going, etc.), and whether it’s for business, leisure, or both. PackPoint checks the weather forecast and pre-populates a packing list with a best-guess of everything it thinks you might need. Most travelers can likely make due with the basic feature set of the free version, although the paid version offers far more customization capability. The additional features make this our go-to app for free and paid users: TripIt integration and easy sharing functionality (to keep your family and friends posted about your travel plans). It’s also the only one of the three packing apps here available for both major mobile platforms.
For the Control Freak: Packing Pro
If you’re not keen on packing but still appreciate being in full control of the process, Packing Pro is your man. The app lacks the polish of the other two mentioned here, and it can feel a bit confusing on first launch. But, it makes up for it with versatility and total customizability. Every item on your packing list can be customized with a dizzying array of options like which bag it goes in, the item’s level of importance for your overall trip, weight, monetary value, and the list goes on. Users can create specific packing list templates (say, one for business and one for leisure) and even templates within templates. This is an app designed for serious “power-user” type travelers.
Download: No free version. Paid version ($1.99 USD) available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod.
For the Every Man Traveler: PackKing
The cutely named PackKing is a compromise between the above two apps. The user interface is simple and streamlined like PackPoint, although it lacks some of the panache. The free version offers a few more features than the former, though, which is why we like it for most “average” travelers. It offers a long list of activities “baked-in,” like: Hiking, Photography, Beach, Dog, and Mobile Office. All of these include their own related items, so it’s easy to fine-tune your packing list no matter where you’re going or what you’re doing. It also asks if and how often you’ll be doing laundry while traveling, which can seriously lighten your clothing load.
Download: Freemium version available for Android only.
Once you’re finally packed and ready to board the plane, treat yourself to this travel playlist: